Movies, in general, are an excellent source of entertainment. People prefer watching different genres for different reasons, but you can’t deny that the inspirational ones make the most impact.
We come across such influencing movies from time to time; some may not even be movies you would tag as “Inspirational”, but they influence you personally anyway. Some films are special and very relatable, aren’t they?
After you finish an inspirational movie, it is common to feel a bit different. Some films are even life-changing. They make you cry, they make you laugh, and they teach you how to get right back up no matter how hard the fall. These kinds of movies can stay with you for a long period of time.
Since Netflix is the go-to hub streaming platform for movies nowadays, let’s take a look at the 24 most inspirational movies on Netflix!
Forrest Gump – “Run, Forrest Run.”
Almost every movie enthusiast has heard the famous line ‘Run, Forrest Run’. In the movie, Forrest Gump, played by none other than the amazing Tom Hanks, starts out as a young boy fitted with leg braces for his curved spine. Despite his condition, Forest discovers that he is a very fast runner. He goes on to be a huge celebrity, accomplishing many things as he journeys through life. However, he is very simple minded. The adorable man compares life to a ‘box of chocolates’ and dives into huge decisions without much thought. Forrest Gump is a very well-put movie.
It is the kind of film you will watch on repeat. Tom Hanks’ fabulous portrayal of Forrest even won him an Academy Award for his acting in 1995. If you haven’t watched this classic before, you definitely should! It is based on a very naïve character, However, it has an exceptionally brilliant plot! Highly-recommended!
The Bucket List – “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
If this movie isn’t on your “to watch” list, I suggest you add it in this second. It is a hard-hitting movie covering the truth about dealing with death. In the film, two cancer patients are roommates; one of them owns the hospital while the other deals with daily struggles of life.
Since death is right on their doorstep, the two decide to list out a few things they want to do before they ‘kick the bucket’. Following their journey to accomplish the list, they learn more about one another, thus helping each other find his true self. Did I mention that the lovable characters are played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? What more could you ask for!
This movie will surely motivate you to make a bucket list of your own. More importantly, it will force you to look at death from a different perspective. We don’t think about death as often as we should, because that it is the only thing we can be sure of in our lives. Life is short, isn’t it? Start ticking things off of your list right now!
The Terminal – “I’ve been waiting my whole life. I just don’t know what the hell for.”
This is another fantastic movie featuring Tom Hanks. The entire movie is set in the John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal in New York. Hanks plays an Eastern European man called Victor Navorski, who is stuck at the John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal as a result of his native country being under military coup since his departure. With no permission to enter New York or return home, Victor must survive on the little money he possesses. The man also cannot speak English, so he has a hard time communicating. Regardless of his difficulties, Victor doesn’t give up hope and longs to go back to his country.
This is a must watch movie for anyone who enjoys a beautifully crafted film. The movie is brilliant; it shows the relationship between strangers who can’t communicate properly, yet go on to build strong friendships regardless of their race and status. The touching moments from this iconic movie will stay with you even when it has finished. You can take away a lot about life and people in general.
Saving Private Ryan – “I just know that every man I kill, I feel farther away from home.”
Three of the four sons of the Ryan family have died in battle while the fourth has gone missing. So, a mission is planned in order to return the last remaining brother, James Francis, to his devastated mother.
According to Wikipedia, the Sole Survivor Policy in the Military of the United States is designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service. However, James Francis doesn’t want to oblige. Reluctant to leave his fellow soldiers, Ryan does not wish to go back because they are still in danger.
Saving Private Ryan is a war film set during World War II where John H Miller (Tom Hanks) is sent to lead his squad into Saving Private Ryan (Matt Damon). It is a story of true camaraderie and heroism. This moving film shows the true horrors of war, but it also manages to touch the humane part of it all.
The Pursuit of Happyness – “If you want something; go get it. Period.”
Easily one of the most inspirational movies on Netflix. ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ tells the real-life story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and his struggle to support his family while facing financial difficulties. The relationship between the father and son duo brings depth to the characters on screen.
Despite being from a different background to his character, Jaeden Smith does a remarkable job of portraying Gardner’s son in the movie. Watch this movie right now on Netflix to find out if Chris Gardner succeeds in giving his son a better life.
The Blind Side – “Yours gifts matter. Your story matters. Your dreams matter. YOU matter.”
We all belong to the same race, the only race – the human race. This movie shows how easy it is to not be racist and how love exceeds racism.
This biographical sports drama features a character called Michael, an NFL player. Michael has had a very rough childhood, but then he meets Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock. When the lady extends a helping hand towards her young son’s big, new friend, things start changing. Michael soon becomes a part of Leigh’s family. He also gains recognition and scholarship by playing football.
This movie is one of the more influencing ones on this list because it shows how an act of kindness can help change someone’s life for the better. The influence you can have from someone else’s life is bigger than you can imagine!
To Kill a Mockingbird – “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
Set in the 1930s, this movie was adapted from the famous book of the same name. Harper Lee took the world by storm with the novel and this movie pretty much had the same effect. It tells the story from the view point of a young child whose father faces the criticism and hate of the entire town for defending a black man in court. When a white girl in town accuses a black man of raping her, nobody bothers to check if it is true. Instead, they decide to imprison the black man. Atticus, played by Gregory Peck, takes his responsibility as the black man’s lawyer very seriously.
Scout, the young daughter of Atticus, acts as the narrator and tells the story from her side. This unique take of portraying racism from the eyes of a young white girl living in the 30s is very special. It is sometimes humorous, but it also touches on deep matters. The truth rings a haunting silence. This classic will definitely leave a huge impression.
Lion – “You kept telling me how little I am, but see how clever I am?”
Lion is a real-life story of a young Indian boy called Saroo, who gets lost in a busy station and does not find his way back. His accidental journey to Calcutta leaves him not only lost, but also unable to understand the local language. He faces trouble hidden behind the friendliest of faces and makes a journey somewhere far away. Saroo grows up to become an independent yet incomplete adult, who longs to find his way back home.
This biographical movie shares the journey of Saroo, who is in search for his long-lost family. Watch it to find out if he ever reunites with his mother and brother.
Whiplash – “Were you rushing, or were you dragging?”
Whiplash is a jaw-dropping movie about an ambitious jazz student who wants to please his strict and abusive instructor. This intense drama revolves around the complex relationship between Andrew, the jazz student, and his instructor, Terence Fletcher. Andrew is an alternate drummer who wishes to be the core drummer in Fletcher’s specially recruited band of jazz players.
The movie can work as an motivation for young and aspiring dreamers to work hard for what they want, and to never give up. The hard-work and commitment of Andrew shown towards his dream is admirable and painfully beautiful. The movie brought J.K. Simmons an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Miles Teller and Simmons are both brilliant in their roles. It is the kind of movie that is hard to forget. This one will not disappoint!
Yes Man – “The world’s a playground.”
Yes! Ever wanted to say yes to everything? Well maybe not everything, but to be more experimental and outgoing?
Yes Man tells the story of an office man, played by Jim Carrey, who has lived a boring life. But everything changes when he joins a group led by an inspirational speaker who tells his followers to say ‘Yes’ to everything. As you can imagine, it takes Carrey’s character along a whirlwind of a ride. Not all the yeses lead to good things, but he learns life-changing things by the end of the movie.
Yes Man is the perfect movie for introverts who play out their dreams in their heads, but are too afraid to do it in real life. Who knows, after watching the movie, maybe you’ll end up saying yes to something you’ve always wanted to do!
Dangal – “What didn’t occur to me was that gold is gold, whether a boy wins it, or a girl.”
Amir Khan is one of the most talented stars Bollywood has to offer. He has released several hit movies since his directorial debut, ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Dangal does not break the streak. This 2016 release broke box office records, not only in India, but internationally as well.
Dangal is a biographical sports drama that tells the story of a family invested in wrestling. After his failure at winning a gold medal for the country, a father vows to realize his dreams by training his daughters for the Commonwealth Games. He trains his two daughters to be wrestlers in a period and place where women never wrestled before. As an injured ex-wrestler, Amir’s character, Mahavir Singh, always dreamt of turning his sons into athletes. However, when he and his wife fail to give birth to sons, he trains his daughters instead. Watch the movie to see how it unfolds.
Inspired by real life people, Dangal is rightly done and thus gives them all justice. It also sends out a strong feminist message. The powerhouse performances will impress you for sure. It’s a must watch!
Secret Superstar – “To dream is basic, everyone should be allowed to dream.”
Secret superstar is yet another Amir Khan Production film. Breaking the stereotype of mainstream Bollywood, the movie has a hidden message behind it’s musically focused trailer.
How do you become a YouTube singing sensation when your strict father is against everything that you do just because you are a girl? You wear a hijab, sing with your face hidden under the veil, and wait for the views to increase.
What comes off as a light musical movie about a young schoolgirl and her rebellion, takes a deeper meaning when it exposes the truth behind closed doors. It will stir you without a doubt!
Schindler’s List – “Power is when we have every justification to kill -and we don’t.”
This film follows the life of a German man who saved thousands of Polish-Jewish lives from the Holocaust during World War II. It shares the story of Oskar Schindler, a business man who led an inspiring life. This true story exposes the troubles and dangers that millions of people faced during the Nazi rule. During such dark times, Schindler courageously stepped up and saved many lives.
Often referred to as the most relatable Holocaust horror depicting movie, Schindler’s List is a must watch for everyone! It is beautiful in its sadness and it might make you want to shed a few tears. The powerful film won lots of awards and honors, including the Academy Award for the Best Picture. I’d like to subtly warn the viewers about the amount of feels this movie will hit you with, so be prepared.
The Danish girl – “This is not my body. I have to let it go.”
The Danish Girl revolves around the life of Elbe (Eddie Redmayne), a Danish painter who becomes the first person to get a sex reassignment surgery. His wife, Lili (Alicia Vikander), is very supportive of his decision and encourages him to follow his desires.
Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander both received critical acclaim for their performances. The Danish Girl will encourage you to be true to yourself and to help others in being true to themselves.
Nobody can tell you how to live your life.
Eat Pray Love – “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
To eat, to pray and to love, these words in themselves encourage me to do just that. That is life anyways!
Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, bids farewell to her stability in order to find out what exactly her life was missing. She embarks on a life changing journey to eat in Italy, pray in India, and to finally find love in Indonesia. When life becomes repetitive and suffocating and confusing, she leaves everything behind and travels the world to find herself.
This light romantic-comedy film is just the thing you need when nothing makes sense! It makes you want to get up and find that missing excitement in your life!
Tony Robbins- I Am Not Your Guru – “Our entire life changes in a moment.”
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Tony Robbins, Robbins is an author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and life coach. This documentary about Tony Robbins goes behind his annual seminar called Date with Destiny where he speaks to thousands in the audience.
The documentary does not dive deep into Tony Robbins’ personal life nor the self-help industry, what it does is it gives us an inside look from his exclusive six-day seminar. Tony’s motivational speeches seem to overcome even the greatest of problems and helps transform the listeners.
Soul Surfer – “I don’t’ need it easy, just possible.”
When teen surfer Bethany loses her left arm to a tiger shark, her chances of survival become zero to none. But thanks to a miracle, Bethany is saved. She even tries to surf again.
The difficulties of having only one arm can prove to be a struggle for day to day life, but Bethany overcomes her hardships and finds meaning in her life despite her disability.
Soul Surfer is based on a true story, which makes it even more remarkable. It deserves a spot on this list!
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King -“Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.”
Based in Middle-earth, the fantasy land created by J.R.R.Tolkien in the book by the same name, Lord Of the Rings tells the tale of how even a tiny hobbit can fight evil with a little help from his friends.
Hobbits are lazy creatures who like nothing more than to have fun. So, when an opportunity to have an adventure arises, most hobbits turn their backs; but sadly, Frodo Baggins has no options. LOTR : Return of the King sets a fantastic example of how bravery, sacrifice, and friendship can triumph even the biggest problems in the world.
Almost everyone has seen this movie already, but in case you haven’t, this is the third installment in the trilogy. Peter Jackson does a marvelous job in adapting the epic book into movies.
Steve Jobs – “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Apple. If you instantly thought of the company and not the fruit, chances are you already know who Steve Jobs is. This movie shows both the good and bad sides of the brilliant mind behind apple.
The movie not only portrays Job as a brilliant mastermind who is above us all, but it also shows his more humane and dark side. Michael Fassbender does an amazing job at playing Jobs, along with the other cast.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – “You don’t have to wait anymore, he’s not coming back.”
You’ve probably heard the name Hachi or Hachiko before. This movie is based on the real-life story of a dog called Hachiko and his beloved owner.
A tear-Jerking movie loved by movie and dog lovers world-wide, it tells the heartwrenching story of Hachiko’s strong bond with his owner. Found at a train station, Hachiko gets taken to the house of the professor who came across him. Since then, their relationship grows and strengthens. Hachiko always waits at the train station for the professor when he goes to work. When he comes back, they walk home together. One day, the professor doesn’t return. But faithful Hachiko continues to wait for him.
This is definitely worthy of your time. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. The world is filled with Hachikos in different forms – we should all cherish our own Hachikos. We dare you not to cry while watching this movie!
The Little Prince – “All grown-ups were once children, but only a few remember it.
The little prince is an animated movie based on a book by the same name. This animated movie tells the tale of a pilot who meets a little prince in the Sahara Desert, where he was left stranded after a crash.
The Little Prince tries to show how hectic we make our life by adding schedules upon schedules, never creating space for fun. People have become egotistical and selfish; we easily ignore the needs of others. The movie takes a creative and indirect jab at such people. There are also moments of love and adventure. This is definitely worth a watch!
Everest – “We made it!”
A group of climbers leave for Nepal to attempt to climb the highest mountain in the world. Everest is an intense film that focuses on the dangers of nature and how it should not be taken lightly. It is based on a true story of an expedition group who tried to climb the mountain. The highest mountain in the world is on a whole different level and just seeing it on screen can be motivating for some. Yet, people climb right up to the top and even live to tell.
The view from atop the perilous mountains is beautiful. It is also enough to understand the motivation of the climbers, however, the threats can’t be taken lightly. Everest is a perfect movie for not only climbers, but for anyone searching for a little inspiration.
Big Fish – “A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories.”
Big Fish is a quirky and entertaining film directed by Tim Burton. The movie shares tales told by a father to his son. It features an overly imaginative father who likes telling stories and a son who wants to know the truth from his dying father.
Big Fish is a visual and mental treat that will leave you in complete awe. There are also some emotional scenes in the film, so ready the tissues before giving it a watch!
8 Mile – “Walk a mile in these shoes just to see what it’s like to be me.”
The movie follows the journey of a white rapper who wants to make it big in the African-American dominated rapping society. This movie is loosely based on Eminem’s actual life, and Eminem himself plays the lead role.
Eminem, having never acted before, does a really good job in the movie. Many people have been inspired by his real-life story, so this movie was a big hit critically as well as commercially. The movie not only touched his fans, but almost everyone who watched it. Eminem even won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself.”
Here you have it! The 24 most inspirational movies on Netflix!
Not everyone will agree all the movies listed above are “inspirational”, however, the meaning of inspiration differs between each individual. It can come in different forms and even the smallest thing can be impactful. So, open your Netflix account and get ready to be inspired!
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